“Public cloud services are gaining traction in the Middle East, although the private cloud is the preferred model in the region, according to IDC MEA. Zajil Telecom embraced this transformation and launched public cloud services in 2012. In order to enhance and expand the services offered, the telco wanted to build a new data centre infrastructure, initially targeting Saudi Arabia. The company also claimed to be a major data centre services player with multiple data centres in Kuwait, KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and UK.
“We needed a cloud platform that was fast to implement and up and running right away. Furthermore, cloud business is a global business. Regional providers face competition from their peers and from giants, such as Amazon Web Services that often set the standard for customer experience and expectation,” said Mohammed Kazmi, senior manager at product development and marketing at Zajil Telecom.
In order to build this new data centre, the company selected NetApp. “The FlexPod solution portfolio combines NetApp storage systems, Cisco Unified Computing System servers, and Cisco Nexus fabric into a single, flexible architecture," Fadi Kanafani, regional director Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan at NetApp, explained.
The solutions are designed and validated to reduce deployment time, project risk, and the cost of IT, according to the company, as its standardised components are pre-validated, pretested, and preconfigured to accelerate deployments and deliver top-service quality right from the start.
As Kazmi explained, the main challenge was to build a new IT infrastructure to expand public cloud services in a very short time. Kanafani added that the platform was ready for production within three weeks.
“Relying on NetApp implementation services shortened the process. Zajil Telecom implemented a FlexPod data centre solution from NetApp and Cisco to run Citrix virtualisation and cloud stations. They leveraged NetApp’s implementation services to shorten time to market, and relied on a Cooperative Support Model for straightforward help,” Kanafani added.
Kamzi said that the difficulties also lied in successfully adapting the service range according to customer’s need, as well as counteract declining margins and gain new clients in a short period. “As a matter of fact, a short time is crucial for ICT service providers. The cloud platform needed to be integrated rapidly and directly operating.”
“The main challenge we faced with Zajil Telecom while building the data centre infrastructure was finding the components suitable to host Zajil’s Cloud Services with the proper architecture that would assist Zajil as a service provider in offering services regionally, starting with the lowest possible initial investment and scale up and scale out accordingly across our regional cloud” added Kanafani.